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Greece starts COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly on Saturday, after first inoculating tens of thousands of frontline workers to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

More than 75,000 healthcare workers and nursing home residents and carers have received the shot of the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech since Greece rolled out the plan along with other EU countries last month.

"I couldn't wait. It will save people," a 91-year-old woman, who gave her name as Kassiani, told Greek state television after receiving the vaccine at an Athens hospital.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that Greece aims to have 2 million people inoculated by March. The country has a population of about 11 million.

Greece, in a nationwide lockdown since November, will loosen some lockdown restrictions on Monday, letting non-essential retail shops reopen for the first time in more than two months after signs pressure on the public health system is easing.

The country has fared better than many other European states, despite its struggling health services, badly weakened by years of financial crisis.

Health authorities have reported a total of 147,860 COVID-19 infections since the first case was detected in February and 5,421 related deaths.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Helen Popper)

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